MER WOCN Public Policy and Advocacy Update, May 11, 2020

The Home Health Care at Home Act

This act would allow improve reimbursement for telehealth care while reducing restrictions to care, this act will last as through the Covid-19 emergency declaration. The ability to provide wound/ostomy consults via telehealth will reduce complications for those who otherwise would not seek treatment due to concern of encountering the Covid-19 virus.

Public Policy and Advocacy Hot Topics from the National WOCN Society

Deep Tissue Injury Coding Policy Reminder – included in the ICD-10 updates. Before October 1, 2019, there were no ICD codes for the stage of Deep Tissue Injury. Previously DTI had to be coded as unstageable thus complicating the clinical picture and plan of care.

Nursing Community Coalition – 58 professional nursing organizations working together to promote the Nations’ health – see the website for the current advocacy goals. The collective efforts of the NC are of benefit to public health and lends more power to influence common goals of prevention and treatment of disease processes including those that result in wound, continence and ostomy complications.

Regions and Affiliates Grassroots Taskforce – updates on progress. The regional and Affiliate Tool Kit is progressing well. The surveys received from WOCN society members reveal that the Public Policy and Advocacy Taskforce are on track with the needs and wants of members. A new link will be added in the future to the national website with the Grassroots Tool Kit
package. This will include education on how to start a campaign, a forum for discussion, forms and more.

WOCN / CMMI Long Term Care Project – advocacy for the use of certified Wound/ Ostomy and trained staff to prevent and treat issues with pressure ulcer, ostomy care and fistula care in the long term and long-term acute care settings. The benefit of a WOC in the long-term care setting would result in decreased complications, reduced cost and hospitalizations. A literature
review is currently in process.

Access & Care Coalition
The goal of the coalition is to counter the reduced access urologic and ostomy medical technology and supplies under Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances. Educational material has been created for both consumers and separately for home health providers and therapists to educate about the right to quality products and how to ensure they receive the
proper care and supplies. This education is linked in the national website:

Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders Updates
The goal of the Alliance is advocacy for quality care and access to medical supplies for all. 2019 activities included: changes in coding, coverage and payment policies, enabling clinicians to better treat patients and manufacturers to bring innovative products to market more quickly; educated key regulatory decision-makers to improve existing and have input in developing
wound care policies. For details see:

Medicare Fistula Coverage
The society has expressed growing concern for the lack of Medicare/Medicaid coverage of fistula supplies. Currently only surgically created or treated fistulas are covered but with only one covered wound pouch (A6154). A white paper has been written on the subject. The task force is currently in the process of developing the next steps.

CALL TO ACTION – The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act
Contact your legislators to support the passage of the Home Health Care Planning Act. This act will allow advanced practice nurses to certify home health services for Medicare patients. Currently only a physician can certify that a patient is eligible for Medicare home health services.